Bicycle Cleaning

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Introduction: Bicycle Cleaning

Completely cleaning a bicycle is either expensive and time consuming or knowledge intensive. Here is a cheap and fast method for cleaning your bike.

This method allows you to clean the frame, gears, derailleurs, chain and wheels without taking parts off the bike.

Step 1: Collect Tools

You will need a degreaser (I use shout the laundry cleaner), a power washer, oil (do not use wd40) and a wet dry vac.

Step 2: Really Dirty Bike

If the bike is really dirty power wash it first. Please, be careful that you don't use a very tight/powerful setting. You want to avoid ripping the paint off of the bike.

Step 3: Fairly Ditry Bike

Spray the degreaser on the parts of the bike that are dirity. I like to use Shout! becuase it is fairly viscous and will not easily drip off the bike.

Step 4: Pressure Wash Bike

After waiting about ten minutes user the presure washer on the bike. You should be able to get into the parts that you can't with your fingers.

Step 5: Check for Cleanleness

If the bike is not clean enough for you go back to step two. If it is go to next step.

Step 6: Vacume Bike

Use a wet dry vac to dry off the bike.

Step 7: Oil Chain and Derailleurs

Oil the chain and both deraillerus. After you have oiled the chain take a rag and wipe off chain.

Step 8: Ride Bike

Take your bike for a nice ride.

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28 Comments

Looks like you have it covered, but a lot of local bike shops say not to use a pressure washer or even a garden hose as the water can get into the wheel bearings, and bottom bracket bearings and do some nasty damage. I use a discarded sprayer bottle with laundry detergent mixed 50/50 with water. I f you do use a garden hose stay about 10 feet away from the bike and use a fine mist.

When carefully hand-cleaning your bicycle please use green products like those from The Green Oil Company!!!! Detergents are bad for the environment. Please oil your chain with a PTFE free product- this is a nasty substance that ends up in the food chain and slowly poisons everything from the bottom up. Happy cycling!

Never, ever use power wash to wash the bike!

andikam is right. Do not power wash your bike as some bearings (like those around the derailleurs, etc.) are not made to handle that kind of water pressure. They will start to leak water into them and lead to corrosion. A simple sponge and maybe a soft bristled brush (like a toothbrush) combined with soapy water (Dawn is great) are all that is needed.

i highly suggest NOT to use a pressure washer at all, especially if the bike is above 300 bucks. Your bike has numerous rotating parts, therefore numerous bearings (headset, cranks, wheels). Using pressurized water can force grit into the bearings, therefore ruining your good stuff over a period of time. if really dirty, simply get a bucket of warm water, soap isn't even necessary, and a rag to just wash it off.

I agree. I did this once years ago. My crank made grinding feel and noise after. Not a good thing.

Oh my god please don't power hose your bike as instructed here. It can cause serious damage for anyone that is unsure about what they are doing. Use soap water instead or wait for mud to dry and then simple cycle around on the road for a bit and the main bulk will fall off. I repeat don't power hose unless you know exactly what you are doing!

using a pressure washer can force water into the bearings causing the grease to be pushed out and the bearings to rust

as soon as i saw the pressure washer i thought how bad this is for the bike all you really need is a bucket and a sponge and use the same stuff you wash your car with and not dishwashing soap thats bad too but then again if you like repacking with new grease every time you wash go ahead

It only takes 20 secs, srsly with a pressure washer, and of course it sounds like you havent used one before. Pressure washers are machines that pressurise water and spit it out at high speeds, and ususally adjustable speeds. Don't shoot where the bearings are, and it is all good.